Channels used to initiate cybersex are not necessarily exclusively devoted to that subject, and participants in any Internet chat may suddenly receive a message with any possible variation of the text "Wanna cyber? " or a request for "C2C"/"C4C" ("cam to cam" and "cam for cam", respectively).
Cybersex is commonly performed in Internet chat rooms (such as IRC, talkers or web chats) and on instant messaging systems.
Imagination and suspension of disbelief are also critically important.
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Alternatively, it can be considered a form of sexual roleplay that allows the participants to experience unusual sexual sensations and carry out sexual experiments they cannot try in reality.
Amongst "serious" roleplayers, cybering may occur as part of a larger plot–the characters involved may be lovers or spouses.
It can also be used to gain experience for solo writers who want to write more realistic sex scenes, by exchanging ideas like sex position.
One approach to cybering is a simulation of "real" sex, when participants try to make the experience as close to real life as possible, with participants taking turns writing descriptive, sexually explicit passages.
Using similar sites, couples can also perform on camera for the enjoyment of others.
Cybersex differs from phone sex in that it offers a greater degree of anonymity and allows participants to meet partners more easily.
A good deal of cybersex takes place between partners who have just met online.
Cybersex can be utilised to write co-written original fiction and fanfiction by role-playing in third person, in forums or communities usually known by the name of 'A Shared Dream'.
In situations like this, the people typing often consider themselves separate entities from the "people" engaging in the sexual acts, much as the author of a novel often does not completely identify with his or her characters.
Due to this difference, such roleplayers typically prefer the term "erotic roleplay" rather than cybersex to describe it.
It can also be performed using webcams, voice chat systems like Skype, or online games and/or virtual worlds like Second Life.